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Title: Staged events in the conduct of elite philanthropy
Authors: Yang, Ruomei
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Drawing on Bourdieusian and Goffmanian social theory, this thesis is the first exhaustive research on staged events in the conduct of elite philanthropy. Other scholars, within different domains, have focused on specific types of events such as festivals and meetings, but no prior researcher has conducted a systematic, field-wide study of the nature and purpose of staged events and their role in the functioning, maintenance and development of the philanthropic field. Elite staged philanthropic events are regular social occurrences and in various ways are critical to the effective management and performance of the third sector. Following consideration of relevant literature and theoretical perspectives, the thesis examines in turn the context and frequency of different types of staged events, power and the performativity of elite philanthropic events, frontstage and backstage interactions in the conduct of staged events, and the processes involved in delivering them. In conclusion, I answer the focal research question framing the thesis: what is the role of staged events in the functioning, maintenance and development of organizational fields? The empirical foundation of my thesis consists of eight in-depth case studies of highprofile staged philanthropic events within the UK, four addressing local audiences and four addressing national audiences. I observed 12 staged events in total (one case study involved multiple events), attended 15 related meetings, and conducted 41 semi-structured interviews with event managers, event owners, event sponsors, venue providers and event guests. I also collected internal and external documents relating to the organization and conduct of the events sponsored by my eight case study organizations. The data were coded and analysed iteratively using abductive reasoning to identify important themes and issues. These were explored and interpreted with reference to my theoretical schema to develop fresh insights regarding elite power and the performativity of staged events within the philanthropic field. Little has been published on the role of staged events within the philanthropic field or indeed within any organizational field. My research contributes to the literature in five ways. First, I find that elite staged philanthropic events are a form of performative agency connecting entities with processes, outcomes with experiences. Secondly, I specify an elite philanthropic event as a non-routine class reproducing structuring-structure operating through performative interactions within the field of power. Thirdly, I develop a dramaturgical perspective on staged events by comparing and contrasting frontstage performances with backstage interactions. Fourthly, I contribute to the process literature by identifying five generic phases through which elite staged philanthropic events unfold as conceiving, preparing, selling, performing and learning. Finally, I move beyond the existing philanthropy literature in putting forward a new typology of elite staged philanthropic events, classified as ritual performers, societal stabilizers, community navigators and transformational change drivers.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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Yang Ruomei Final Submission e-copy.pdfThesis2.1 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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